The Canadian economy heavily relies on small and medium-sized businesses, which account for a significant 99.8% of the total businesses running across the nation. While these numbers may seem encouraging, there’s a growing concern about the dwindling numbers of women entrepreneurs despite their critical role in the flourishment of SMBs.
As women entrepreneurs account for only 17.5%, the Canadian authorities are worried about the underrepresentation, as it not only hampers women’s economic potential but also limits Canada’s overall economic growth. This article aims to delve into women entrepreneurs’ challenges in entrepreneurship and discuss how organizations and the Canadian government can eliminate obstacles to make entrepreneurship more accessible to women.
The Challenges Women Entrepreneurs Face in Canada
There are numerous roadblocks that prevent women from starting or growing their businesses in Canada; These include:
- Limited access to capital
- Lack of networking opportunities
- Limited mentorship and support
- Social barriers
As per the study by a renowned media outlet, almost half or 49%, of the women in Canada are looking to start a business or side hustle to meet expenses and combat inflation. A significant majority of about 87% of women claim that household responsibilities keep them from taking this leap.
That’s not all; according to Ownr Media’s recent survey, 43% of those who do get a chance to run a business complain of lack of funding. While 87% of women entrepreneurs said they would appreciate mentorship, only 40% could afford one.
These are just a few challenges that hinder the growth and potential of women entrepreneurs from contributing to the Canadian economy.
Making Entrepreneurship an Option for Everyone
The Canadian government and its allied organizations must prioritize equity and inclusion to make entrepreneurial opportunities accessible to everyone, including women. This entails providing the required support, resources, and women-oriented infrastructure to help them start, grow and expand their businesses. The following are the necessary steps that these organizations need to take:
- Ensure women have access to funds and financing options to meet their financial obligations while running a business.
- Provide entrepreneurial training and mentorship programs along with educational resources that can help women entrepreneurs develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed.
- Creating networking opportunities that allow women entrepreneurs to connect with other like-minded individuals and share their experiences and insights.
- Address the social obstacles that prevent women from pursuing entrepreneurship and establish a more inclusive business environment.
Setting Female Entrepreneurs Up for Success
To set female entrepreneurs up for success, it is important to take on their challenges and provide a robust ecosystem that enables them to accomplish their business goals. Here’s how we can provide them with assistance and support:
- Provide female entrepreneurs mentorship and support to help them navigate the challenges of starting and growing a business.
- Offer training and educational resources to help women entrepreneurs develop the skills and knowledge needed to succeed.
- Create an environment encouraging diversity and inclusion, enabling women entrepreneurs to thrive.
The Canadian Government’s Women Entrepreneurship Strategy
To equip female entrepreneurs with the required support and resources like funds, mentorship, and training programs, the Canadian government has pledged $6 billion to the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy. This program is aimed at providing facilitation to women entrepreneurs, which will enable them to establish and expand their businesses. Implementing this strategy is crucial in bridging the gender gap in entrepreneurship and fostering a more inclusive business environment in Canada.
The Economic Impact of Uplifting Women Entrepreneurs
According to the McKinsey Global Institute’s report, empowering women entrepreneurs could potentially contribute $12 trillion to the global GDP. In fact, female entrepreneurs in Canada own a substantial portion of new businesses, accounting for 37.4% of self-employment in 2019, with over 1.5 million workers employed and contributing approximately $150 billion to the economy. A more inclusive and prosperous business ecosystem can be established in Canada by providing female entrepreneurs with essential resources and support.
Eliminating roadblocks and improving women’s access to entrepreneurship can help mitigate the challenges they face on both social and operational fronts. This would empower female entrepreneurs and give the Canadian economy the essential push to become successful and prosperous. It can break barriers towards gender parity and an inclusive business ecosystem to enable female-owned businesses to achieve greater heights. In fact, the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, together with other initiatives, can pave the way for a promising future for women in business in Canada.
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